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Outta-Towner looking to woo DC lady with great meal. Suggestions?

I’m from New York and I’m meeting an old friend in DC on Saturday. I kind of want her to really like me, sooooo…I want to take her to a fun, hip, diverse and generally delicious place near the heart of DC. I’m hoping a great meal (lunch or dinner) can help me woo this special lady. Price technically isn’t an issue, but I don’t want to go somewhere stuffy. From burgers to lasagna, anything is possible! Thanks for your help!!

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  1. what is the "heart" of DC?

    dupont? gallery place? white house?

    Central would be a good choice, but I doubt you could get a spot now for the weekend.

    You could try The Source, which seems to be getting good reviews.

    If a guy took me to the tasting room at Palena or to Komi, I'd be impressed.

    17 Replies
    1. re: Jeserf

      I'm not too familiar with DC, but the Dupont area, near Capitol Hill, Georgetown area and even the White House would be of interest! Adams Morgen not so much..I wouldn't want to get too far out on one of the metro lines. I'll check out your suggestions...Thanks so much!

      1. re: Walk_It_Off

        IMO, Dupont doesn't have anything that has wow'd me. But, Obelisk would probably be a good fit (i've never been). Again, not sure if you could get a spot for this weekend.

        Capitol Hill...maybe Locadna.

        Georgetown, I don't know - I don't go there to eat because it's too crowded and difficult to get to/from for the most part (buses...fun!). BUT - fish eaters rave about Hook - and that might be a good spot, because you can also walk around before/after meal time.

        Palena is in cleveland park, and lovely. Plus, it's a nice neighborhood to walk around in. There are truly fancy places you could go, but I can't recommend them as they're out of my budget and I never go. but, many here can recommend some near the white house that always sound lovely.

        1. re: Walk_It_Off

          Adams Morgan is easier to get to than Georgetown ;)

          1. re: mselectra

            depends on where you're coming from.

            and what you want to do before/after the meal. Would I ever, on a saturday night, "stroll" around that area out of something other than necessity? no. I lived overlooking fraternity houses freshman year of college, reliving those times...nahh. heh.

            Also, I have only been to Cashions once and wasn't overly impressed, so I couldn't recommend it but could recommend Palena.

            I'm sure Cashions is good though, just haven't felt the need to return. I think it'd be a good option, though, especially considering how INSANE this city will be this weekend.

            1. re: Jeserf

              Sorry I meant that to be a little silly. Yes, Palena is great, and more metro accessible, but I think Cashion's is more romantic and likely to be quieter and less insane. (I've had more memorable meals there than at Palena, but I've only eaten in the front room of Palena.) But neither really fit the OP's location request, I guess.

              I'm not sure I'd suggest a stroll through either A-M or Gtown for adult romance on a Saturday night, but at least in Georgetown you can get down by the water, which is really nice.

              1. re: mselectra

                no no - I know.

                I'm not a fan of anything in/around adams morgan. Unless it's gold on a plate. For free. I'm pretty unlikely to go there unless it's mandated by a cadre of friends.

                I'd still probably aim for Komi or Obelisk if possible...

                I'm woo'd by take out and a movie. What do I know:)

              2. re: Jeserf

                Hmm...INSANE this weekend, huh? Is it insane every weekend or is this one special? Perhaps some after din-din activities will be readily available. And for the record, I can woo myself with dinner and a movie!! It's a predictable but still great. Sadly, no good movies right now! Thanks..

                1. re: Walk_It_Off

                  Yes, many outdoor activities on Saturday. Too bad the weather forecast is for chilly conditions:

                  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

                  But maybe a post-lunch walk amongst the cherry blossoms would woo her.

                  1. re: Walk_It_Off

                    Insane as in there are a multitude of touristy-type events converging on this city at once (many families here while kids have spring break, cherry blossoms, marathons/runs/walks/etc).

                    So yes, it will be very, very, very busy. So be prepared for that and DEFINITELY make reservations somewhere. Since, you know, it will be...busy.

                    (sorta why I recommended Palena in that it's off the regular touristy track up in Cleveland Park).

                    1. re: Jeserf

                      WalkItOff -- Where will you be located in the city? And, I wonder if it might help to know your tolerance for crowds/noise and approximate age group you'd prefer to have around you as you dine.... (some demographic info ;) and more of your definition of romantic.)

                      For a request for romantic help, it's especially important to get you steered the right way!

                      If you're interested in Georgetown, I wonder if the Lounge at Citronelle would be good -- I've never been, but I trust it would be pretty special.

                      1. re: mselectra

                        Location: I think i'm getting in at metro center, and judging by it's name...I think it's somewhat in the center, right? I can tolerate loudness in a restaurant but not extreme quit accompanied by a violin, though someday I'm sure I will! The age group can be diverse. I don't necessarily prefer an entirely twenty-something crowd. Throw some thirties, forties and even a few fifty year olds in there and that's great. I enjoy diversity. Citronelle does look special but the food may be a bit too artistic for my taste. FYI, I do find a good burger romantic!! Thanks!

                        1. re: Walk_It_Off

                          Burger: Follow Jeserf's advice to go to Palena and be sure to also get the fries (which come separately), which are the real star (and include fried meyer lemon which is amazing) as great as the burger is. It's easy from Metro Center, take the red line. I have waited more than an hour for a table, when just walking in -- and there's no bar to wait at -- but if you're prepared for that, it's a nice neighborhood to walk around, and they'll actually call your cell phone when your table is ready. (Would you find a walk through the zoo before dinner romantic?)

                          Burger and fries at Central are also great (I think not as great, but it's a matter of debate), and very convenient to Metro Center.

                          Per your further elaboration, I'd pay attention to Elyssa's suggestions, too. For diverse and hip and all that, do consider the U Street area, too.

                          1. re: mselectra

                            I love zoos! I think Palena it is. Thanks!!

                            1. re: Walk_It_Off

                              Hope it does the trick, fingers crossed and good luck!

                              And fyi: Palena is right by the Cleveland Park metro, it's a 10-15 minute walk down to the zoo entrance. The zoo is on its "summer hours" so it's open until 8:00 (I think that's it), but a lot of the animals may be in for the night by then -- I think it's really a pretty setting for a walk in any case.

                          2. re: Walk_It_Off

                            Plus I must say Citronelle for a first date type thing, while nice and impressive, seems to be over board.

                      2. re: Walk_It_Off

                        Your post mentioned a choice between lunch and dinner. I vote for dinner. This is the most insane weekend I can remember. For your sake I hope the city may have settled down by dinner time. DC plays host to all the people coming for the beginning of the Cherry Blossom festival, a marathon, and a walk to raise money to fight epilepsy.

                2. re: Jeserf

                  Agree with The Source - upstairs.

                3. Cashion's Eat Place would (has) really woo me. I'm not sure it's the "heart of DC", but perhaps near some of the hearts? I think it's a romantic restaurant, not loud, great great food, really nice service and atmosphere.

                  If you look it up, btw, I think the website is still really out of date.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mselectra

                    A stroll at night down by the water in Georgetown is great. A stroll at night down the street in Adams Morgan is stressful and at times infuriating...but sometimes fun as well. Thanks for the suggestions. Cahsion's looks interesting.

                  2. A few places I would look into are Central, Proof, Zola, Hook, Ceiba or Marvin. All have great food with a lively, fun atmosphere. They are also in areas where an after dinner walk or drink create lots of interesting and fun options.Hook is in Georgetown, Marvin allows you check out U St area, and the other places are close enough to the Mall that you can go in many directions. (They also show your "cool" factor.)

                    Good luck!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Elyssa

                      ...the only problem being that he means for tomorrow (I think).

                      So he should call places right now to see if any place has a spot.

                      It'd be rather un-wooing to take someone somewhere and wait in line for a couple of hours Cheesecake Factory style unless you had a game plan of "put name in HERE then go to portrait gallery for 2 hours and return to restaurant".

                      But, I do think Zola in that "sexy" way would be a good choice.

                      1. re: Jeserf

                        There is always the option of sitting at the end of the bar in these places. I know that might seem unromantic at first, but if the bar isn't insanly busy, you are sitting right next to each other and the opportunity to lean over and kiss her is much easier :) It's like the romantic banquett style seating (both couples on one side of the table, table pushed into them so they look out at the restaurant) only on high seats/stools. It could work :)

                        Add PS7 to the list.

                      2. re: Elyssa

                        Haha...I may try the barstool option even if there's an open table! Perhaps the closeness, in addition to a slight lean, will woo her to a kiss! Thanks..

                      3. just be sure to report back. and if you do go to palena....have dessert. best i have had in the city.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Jeserf

                          Haha..I can't go to a place with great dessert and not get some! And I will report back. Thanks Jeserf.

                          1. re: Walk_It_Off

                            I concur, Palena and its environs will be ideal for your hopefully special evening. But mainly I wanted to say how much I love your user name! It's what my SO and I say to one another when we've "overchowed," which tends to be often.

                            1. re: Meg

                              It was between Walk It Off or Buttons Poppin. I picked the former...Glad you can relate!!

                          2. re: Jeserf

                            we did go to Palena. Great burger!! Only gripe would be the bread was a bit much. As for the girl.....I think she was woo-ed!! Time will tell. Thanks again for your help...

                            1. re: Walk_It_Off

                              what does "the bread was a bit much" mean?

                              1. re: Jeserf

                                The bread was OK. However, in the search for the perfect burger (which I've found at Shake Shack in NY & the Burger Joint in NY), the bun can play a pivotal role in taste. Too much bread takes away from the taste of the meat. But any old wonder bread bun can be detrimental as well. So there's a fine line between the right amount of bread but not too much. At Palena, the bread tasted good, but there could have been a bit less. That's my only gripe. Other than that picky detail, it was delicious. And now......I'm walking off! (dramatic, huh?)

                              2. re: Walk_It_Off

                                That's great! Thanks for reporting back.

                                I'm also curious about the bread.
                                Did you go to the zoo?

                                Good luck with the further wooing.

                            2. Yeah I like Palena and if you are struggling to get a seat in front you can always go to the more formal back part which is delicious and very romantic. And down the street Aroma makes a mean martini... fiance took me there after dinner on our first date.

                              Hook would be my second choice.

                              1. I love both DC Coast and Cieba. They are both upscale, food is good and looks good, the "scene" is good and upbeat. DC Coast for seafood , big special drinks and martini's and general gourmet type food and Cieba for latin influenced fusion, great margarita's and tequila selection. Both have valet parking and are downtown

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: dining with doc

                                  I have always found DC Coast to be good, but not great. The atmosphere is a little lacking and there is a certain generic feel to it as well. You could do a lot better. I would head to any of the other three Tunks restaurants before Coast.

                                  For my money, there really is nothing better for a truly special occasion than Komi.

                                2. La Ceiba has nice food and good atmosphere. You may also try Georgia Brown's for good food and really nice time. Both are metro accessible or also have valet if you are so inclined.